Michael Aubrey hits four homers for Triple-A Syracuse

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Former major leaguer Michael Aubrey hit four homers and drove in seven runs in four at-bats for Triple-A Syracuse in an 11-0 win over Durham on Saturday.

It was a pretty stunning outburst for the 29-year-old Aubrey, who entered with no homers and just one double in 59 at-bats this season.  He was hitting .203/.319/.288 through 21 games.

The Indians made Aubrey the 11th overall pick in the 2003 draft coming out of Tulane.  Injuries limited during his early minor league career, and he never developed the kind of power hoped for him.  He held his own in appearances with the majors with the Indians in 2008 and the Orioles in 2009, hitting .259/.310/.444 in 135 at-bats, but no team saw enough upside to give him a legitimate shot afterwards.  The Nationals signed him to a minor league deal over the winter after he spent all of last season with Baltimore’s Triple-A club.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.